Samuel Clemens' lifetime was what the development of America was all about: trade and life on the Mississippi; the gold rush days in the west; the development of publishing and industry in the east. It also goes in depth about Clemens' life abroad where he was the toast of society where ever he went. But the heart and soul of Clemens lie in his family and his days in Hartford, CT and Elmira, NY. He is a true genius, documenting the "real" America and through it's people and place in the world. Albert B Paine is an excellent writer commenting directly on most of the last years of Twain's life when he became his personal biographer/companion. Paine is truly in awe of Clemens, but not above presenting the human side of Mark Twain in the process of painstaking creation of this massive and greatly detailed biography.